If you grab for that first cigarette of the day sooner rather than later, it may be a sign of depression.
A CDC survey suggests depressed people are more likely to smoke and less likely to quit. The findings don't prove that depression causes smoking or that smoking causes depression. But the data, from nationwide surveys of adults conducted from 2005 through 2008, show there's a strong link between depression and cigarette smoking.
Depressed people are much more likely to smoke than people who aren't depressed, the CDC finds. And the number of cigarettes people smoke increases as their depression deepens.
Moreover, smokers suffering depression grab for that first cigarette of the day sooner than smokers who aren't depressed.
Among people who aren't depressed, women are less likely to smoke than men are. But depressed women smoke as much as depressed men.
Here are some other key findings for adults age 20 and older from the CDC's National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys 2005-2008:
· 48% of women and 40% of men with severe depression are smokers. Among people who are not depressed, 17% of women and 25% of men are smokers.
- More than half of depressed smokers light up within five minutes of waking. Only 30% of smokers who aren't depressed do this.
- Nearly twice as many depressed smokers as non-depressed smokers average more than a pack a of cigarettes each day (28% vs. 15%).
- In every age group, depressed people were less likely to have quit smoking than people who weren't depressed.
- Depressed people are more likely to have tried smoking than non-depressed people.
· Overall, some 7% of Americans in the CDC surveys reported some degree of depression.
For those who smoke, there's good news: People with depression can successfully quit smoking if enrolled in intensive cessation programs. Depressed smokers are as capable as nondepressed smokers of quitting smoking, and at least one-quarter of depressed smokers is willing to try. In fact, depression severity and history of depression recurrence are not related to willingness to try to quit smoking among depressed outpatients.
Sustained abstinence may even lead to improvement in depressive disorders. Current clinical evidence suggests more resiliency among depressed smokers than common clinical wisdom would dictate. Actually, smokers with depressive disorders are able to quit smoking at the same rates as nondepressed smokers.
Yes, depressed smokers who quit smoking are more likely to relapse to depression than depressed smokers who keep smoking; but only a minority of depressed smokers will get depressed. One study found that 24 of 34 smokers, more than two-thirds the sample with a prior diagnosis of major depression, did not have a recurrence of major depression after quitting smoking, even without antidepressant medication or other apparent intervention. Two of the subjects who did have a recurrence of depression, experienced depressive symptoms for only two days before restarting effective antidepressant therapy.
Is there any evidence that stopping smoking actually improves depression? A study in 2002 found that continuous abstinence was associated with short- and long-term reductions in depressive symptoms. Improved mood with sustained abstinence from cigarettes may be related to brain serotonin levels. Another potential explanation for improved mood with smoking cessation is a decrease in hypercholinergic neurotransmission at the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.
Highly nicotine dependent smokers are potentially at higher risk for depression and relapse, but also more responsive to bupropion. Preliminary evidence supports the development of specific smoking cessation treatments tailored for depression, over standard smoking cessation therapies.
If you have a history of depression as I do then you may be reluctant to Quit Smoking out of fear of deepening depression. But with proper treatment with a therapist who is on board with your Quit Plans, YOU CAN SUCCEED!
I was also told not to Quit Smoking and I listened until I was diagnosed with COPD! Guess what! My therapist doesn’t have to live with my illness! I DO! Do you know what a prime comorbidity of COPD is? Depression!
Don’t wait until you have a chronic, incurable, progressive illness to quit smoking! Work at your Quit with good psychological supervision and don’t give up!